Mechanisms of Debris Flow Disaster Warnings
(I) Establishment of Standardized Operating Procedures:
To establish mechanisms of debris flow disaster warnings, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau (the Bureau) has enacted standardized operating procedures concerning debris flow disaster prevention and relief, including evacuation plans, information collection and reporting, education plans for the public and campaigns, disaster forecasts and issuances of warnings, recovery and reconstruction for secondary disaster and post-disaster. The Bureau will issue warnings based on weather data provided by the Central Weather Bureau, also keep monitoring debris flow disasters.
(II) Areas of Debris Flow Disasters :
- A debris flow disaster warning is issued to the residents living in areas affected by potential debris flow torrents; a village- or township-wide evacuation is not always necessary.
- In practice, it is not feasible to list all potential debris flow torrents on the announcement sheet. Local disaster response center members could obtain more detailed information, such as evacuation maps, via the website (Debris Flow Disaster Prevention Information, http://246eng.swcb.gov.tw/).
(III) Timing and Practices for Debris Flow Disaster Warning Issuing
Currently debris flow disaster warnings are categorized into yellow and red alerts based on different intensity of typhoons and torrential rains. The definition of yellow and red alerts and the timing for issuing a warning are as follows:
- Yellow alerts: When precipitation forecasts at a given area issued by the Central Weather Bureau exceed rainfall thresholds for debris flow disasters, even if it may not start raining yet, the Bureau will issue a yellow alert to the residents living in the affected area, and then the local governments should advise them to evacuate.
- Red alerts: When current rainfall at a given area exceeds rainfall thresholds for debris flow disasters, the Bureau will issue a red alert to the residents living in the affected area, and then the local governments should force them to evacuate and help them to the shelter.
- Local governments may issue yellow or red alerts by using their own judgment according to current rainfall and situations.
(IV) Areas of Debris Flow Disasters:
When a warning is issued, related information will be sent to the central and local disaster response centers and the press automatically via internet fax. The public could also get information on the website (Debris Flow Disaster Prevention Information,http://246eng.swcb.gov.tw/)
Meanwhile, in order to deliver the latest news to the emergency contacts and the heads of villages, it is critical to enhance efficient information delivery. Warnings and the latest news will be delivered by using multiple tools to fight for more time for the residents to evacuate.